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Zimbabwe plans Mugabe's funeral and burial next weekend

Zimbabwe plans Mugabe's funeral and burial next weekend”

Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News EditorPresident Mnangagwa has assembled a delegation led by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, comprising former President Robert Mugabe's family, the family of the former First Lady - the Marufus - and Zanu-PF officials to facilitate the repatriation of the national hero's body from Singapore where he died last Friday.

"What is clear is that there is no agreement on the place of burial".

Zimbabweans entered a first full day of national mourning on Saturday, divided over the legacy of Robert Mugabe, the guerrilla hero turned despot who ruled the country for 37 years.

Otherwise, Robert Mugabe was a complex human being; even his familial origins remain a mystery, even if soon to be unravelled in a biography to be published later this year.

The memo sent by Zimbabwe's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to embassies in Harare and seen by Reuters said the funeral would be in the National Sports Stadium but did not specify where the burial would be.

National Heroes Acre is a burial ground and national monument in Harare, Zimbabwe.

"He died a very bitter man", the former president's nephew, Mr Leo Mugabe, told reporters at the family's rural home on Saturday.

At Sacred Heart Cathedral, Mugabe's parish in the capital Harare, the priest encouraged congregants to pray for their founding leader. Without forgetting to pray for our former president, Comrade Robert Mugabe, we bring him forward to God.

"We will never get any other president like president Mugabe who during his time had the guts to call the British "these stupid British" right in their face", said Vivian Jena, another supporter.

Chris Sambo, a former soccer administrator who used to arrange matches for Mugabe in his home village of Kutama, said the southern African country's Catholic community had lost one of its most important members.

Tsitsi Samukange, another churchgoer, said Mugabe should be praised for fighting for his country. "We want our Mugabe to be buried here", she said when asked about the plan for a Harare burial. And we became poorer. "Now he's gone and we have nothing left in the country because of him", said Mupeti, puffing at a cigarette.

Many in downtown Harare said at the weekend that they were saddened by Mugabe's death because of his central role in the struggle against colonial rule and because he had broadened access to education.

But his ousting in 2017 was accompanied by celebrations across the country of 13 million and critics at home and overseas viewed him as a power-obsessed autocrat who unleashed death squads, rigged elections and ruined the economy to keep control.



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